Skip to content

The Midgard Campaign Setting, posted by CJ Ovalle

The Midgard Campaign Setting has recently been released by Kobold Press.

It’s awesome.

The Midgard Campaign Setting is based on the home campaign world of famed RPG designer Wolfgang Baur. The patronage project started almost two years ago, and much of that time was spent on the Kobold Quarterly forums, exploring, discussing, and creating the various parts of the world in the manner of Open Design. Other lead chapter designers include Jeff Grubb, Brandon Hodge, Christina Stiles, and Dan Voyce. A dozen other folk, including Ed Greenwood, also contribute to design. Among that dozen, I participated when I could (especially early on), and wrote some spells, deities, NPCs, and offered various suggestions in different places. And patrons gave suggestions, feedback, and ideas. So, given all that…

Midgard has been described as dark fantasy. There’s some obvious real-world cultural influences, as has been demonstrated in other projects from Open Design, particularly from Eastern European, Middle Eastern, Slavic, and Norse folklore. It’s not limited to those concepts, though- there are other sources of inspiration and a whole lot of creativity densely packed in the book. The book is written for the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game (PFRPG, Paizo) and includes an extensive appendix for the Adventure Gaming Engine (AGE, Green Ronin). Although it was written with those systems in mind, there’s a great deal of material that can be adapted for other games. The world’s depth is incredible, and it can well serve as the home of many, many campaigns.

Midgard is a unique place. Optional rules make for a particularly interesting locale. Ley lines cover the land, which can be tapped for power. Elemental dragons take an active role in the world, their avarice extended to temporal power. Status matters, and can affect a party as they interact with the world’s denizens.

Chapter 1: Welcome to Midgard. Chapter 1 discusses Midgard’s rich history, cosmology, and features such as Ley Lines.

Chapter 2: Heroes of Midgard. Chapter 2 discusses the races of Midgard. Major races include Humans, Dragonkin, Dwarves, Elves and the Elfmarked (similar to Half-Elves), Gearforged (a steampunk-ish construct race), Kobolds, and Minotaurs. Several minor races are also mentioned briefly. These races may not be what you’re used to; for example, elves have largely left the world, and gnomes tend to be evil creatures that embrace demonic power. Midgard-specific languages, feats and traits are also included in this chapter. The optional Status rules are also found in this chapter, perhaps not intuitively found under the Human entry. The rules seemed based on the rules for status found in the excellent adventure, Courts of the Shadow Fey.

Chapters 3 through 9 discuss different major regions of Midgard. Each one lists major cities, places and personages of interest, and rules and mechanics that can be found in that area. For example, Chapter 5, the Dragon Empire, contains the Dragon Magic section, which has several spells that originate from that area. For another example, Chapter 7, the Wasted West has a very fun table about the side effects from the potions you buy when you go bargain-shopping at the Bottle Market in Maillon. Each area has its own history, themes, and dozens and dozens of adventure hooks. These sections are rich with history and life, and I’ll talk about them more in subsequent posts.

Chapter 10 discusses the pantheon of Midgard. Gods of Midgard aren’t necessarily distant, but their motivations are shrouded in mystery. For a variety of reasons that scholars only theorize about, they work behind masks as they interact with worshipers and other mortals. Each deity has a write-up that includes their known history, notable temples and worshipers, what they expect from their followers, and related information.

Appendix 1 discusses AGE rules, including 25 new backgrounds, 7 new specializations, and magic.

Appendix 2 provides regional encounter tables (yay!).

Appendix 3 lists a few examples for further readings.

Finally, the book ends with an excellent index (double yay!).

I have to mention the art. The book looks terrific. It has some of the best art that I’ve ever seen in an RPG book. The Kobold Quarterly blog has a great Art of Midgard series in which artists discuss their inspirations and ideas.

There are some problems in this first printing, mostly related to typos (page $$, some missing areas from the Table of Contents). I’m sure they drive Wolfgang crazy. ^_^ These will definitely be fixed in the PDF, and I imagine subsequent printings.

The Midgard Campaign Setting comes in hardback, softback, and PDF, and checks in at an impressive 296 pages. It is unquestionably a must-buy. ^_^

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *